Human Flower Project
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Sassafras ~ Four Score and Four
Time turns a grand tree into a coat rack, and then it’s gone. Thank you, Allen.
Sassafras albidum: The next generation
Photo: Allen Bush
By Allen Bush
After record August rains (can you picture 6 ½ inches in 90 minutes?) I was ready to believe this was some sort of comeuppance for the one of coolest Julys on record. Not recording a single day in the 90s, in the heat of summer, was unheard of around Louisville. I imagined it must be like this on the coast of Maine. Then the record rains came. And then, of course, it got dry for the next six weeks. This is the way it goes.
Near the end of September I said good-bye to a sassafras (Sassafras albidum) tree at home. It had been a steady presence in good times and hard times for many years. To accompany my grief, the rains resumed again in mid-October – well, steady bone chilling drizzle, anyway – a real insult to my hopes for a curative Indian summer. Finally, there was a break the week before Halloween. The sugar maple two doors down turned bright orange, in clear view of our family room. The tall spikes of blue-purple monkshood in our garden looked regal, standing at attention. The white blooms of Cyclamen coum and the rain lilies Zephyranthes candida were at my feet. So were the purple colchicums. The golden larch Pseudolarix amablis was starting to turn. Pumpkin vines had been scorched by a light frost that missed the flowering tobacco Nicotiana sylvestris.